Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Siena Tops Fresno State, 61-57, In CBI Event Opener

And, the basketball season continues for the Siena men's team, the last MAAC team still playing and one of just 10 teams still active as the 2013-14 season comes to a close.

The Saints, very late Monday night/Tuesday morning, won the first game in the best-of-three championship-round series at Fresno State, 61-57. Attendance was 5,284 at the Bulldogs' on-campus 15,000-plus seat Save Mart Center.

The outcome sends the series to Siena where the Saints will host Game 2 at their on-campus Alumni Recreation Center for a 7 p.m. contest on Wednesday. Game 3, if necessary, will also be played at the ARC on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

Other than exhibition games, Siena has not played a game at its on-campus ARC since Feb. 19, 1997, having moved to the more-spacious Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y., for its games since then.

Seating capacity for the CBI games is being limited to 3,500, and there was a decent line of fans waiting to purchase tickets (priced at $36 each) for the games when ticket windows opened on Monday.

You can read a column about Siena's history in the ARC that will appear in Wednesday's edition of the Troy Record, which can be found at www.troyrecord.com.

From the living room seat in front of the 46-inch TV, it appeared the Saints were, by far, the more-physical team in Game 1, particularly in the second half when they rallied from a 40-28 deficit midway through the second half.

When Siena's freshman forward Lavon Long scored six straight points later in the half Siena had a 56-53 edge.

Fresno State got within one before Saints' sophomore forward Brett Bisping made two foul shots to give Siena a 58-55 advantage with 5:09 remaining and Siena led the rest of the way.

The hosts did have a chance to tie, or take a lead, trailing 59-57 and in possession. But, Bisping drew a charging foul on Fresno State's Marvelle Harris with 2.6 seconds remaining to secure the victory.

Siena held a 39-29 edge in overall rebounding and a 17-5 advantage on offensive rebounds. Siena's 6-foot-0 point guard Marquis Wright led all offensive rebounders with five, while reserve freshman forward Javion Ogunyemi grabbed four missed shots on Siena's offensive end.

The victory was Siena's eighth in its last nine games. The Saints are now 19-17 overall with a 17-10 record after a 2-7 start.

The program is going through its longest basketball season in school history, both in terms of length and number of games played.

A column your Hoopscribe wrote that appeared in a recent edition of The Troy Record looked at how being together for extra games and practices has helped accelerate the team's improvement.

Here's a link to that column: http://www.troyrecord.com/sports/20140330/on-the-record-future-is-now-for-young-siena-team

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